Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC 197: Jones vs. Saint Preux from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by a bout for the UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Championship as former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones makes his anticipated return to action to take on Ovince Saint Preux, who replaced an injured Daniel Cormier in what was originally supposed to be a rematch for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship held by Cormier and previously held by Jones. In the co-main event, it is another title fight as UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson looks to make another title defense as he welcomes challenger and former Olympic medalist Henry Cejudo, who puts his undefeated record on the line. Also on the card is former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis as he takes on Edson Barboza. Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 6:30 PM eastern time with preliminary action all the way thru the main card.
We're looking for your thoughts on the show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle and a best and worst match to firstname.lastname@example.org
UFC 197 DFS Playbook
UFC 197 Observer Picks & Preview
Coverage provided by Dave Meltzer
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC FIGHT PASS- 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT)
LIGHTWEIGHTS- EFRAIN ESCUDERO (24-10, 5-6 UFC) VS. KEVIN LEE (11-2, 5-2 UFC)
First round: Right and left by Lee and body kick. Lee with a left. Lee continues to land. Escudero got behind him and tried for a takedown. Lee up and tried a takedown and now Lee tried a suplex but Escudero blocked. Lee got a momentary takedown. Lee let him go. Lee with a body kick. Escudero coming backs with punches late in the round. Escudero got a takedown. Lee 10-9.
Second round: Lee with a right. Lee has him against the fence. Escudero got a single leg but couldn’t get the takedown. Lee with a knee to the body. Body kick by Lee. Both landed. Escudero has him against the fence. Escudero with a right. Left by Escudero. Lee 20-18, but this round was closer.
Third round: Lee throwing front kicks. Escudero with an accidental low kick. Lee in with a body kick. Escudero with a left. Escudedro with knees to the thigh. Lee got underneath and slammed him down. Lee landing lefts. Lee grabbed a guillotine but Escudero escaped. Lee landing punches on the ground. Lee with body punches and elbows from the top. Should be Lee 30-27 or maybe 29-28.
Scores: All three have it 29-28 for Lee.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS- MARCOS ROGERIO DE LIMA (13-3-1, 2-1 UFC) VS. CLINT HESTER (11-5, 4-2 UFC)
First round: De Lima throwing kicks. De Lima knocked him down with a right hook counter to the ear. He’s on top with punches to the side of the head. De Lima with more punches. De Lima remains on top in guard. Nothing happening and boring. Now de Lima broke fee and is landing a lot of hard punches. He pummeling Hester from the top and got the submission with a head and arm choke.
HEAVYWEIGHTS- WALT HARRIS (7-4, 0-3 UFC) VS. CODY EAST (12-1, 0-0 UFC)
First round: East landed a nice right. Harris missed a high kick and East hit a body kick. Body kick by Harris. East landing punches. East landing a lot. Kick by East landed like it was an Arena Mexico finish. Harris with a body kick. Both swing like rock em sock em robots and the crowd picked up big. Body kick by Harris. Good pace and good movement for big guys here. East with two rights and Harris countered and dropped him with a counter left to the jaw. Harris landing big punches on the ground. Now he’s landing elbows. More big punches by Harris and it was stopped. East took a real beating from a big hard hitting guy here. 4:18
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX SPORTS 1- 8 PM ET/5 PM PT)
LIGHTWEIGHTS- GLAICO FRANCA (13-3, 1-0 UFC) VS. JAMES VICK (8-0, 4-0 UFC)
First round: Franca with low kicks and took Vick down. Second takedown by Franca. Franca staying on top. Vick up and landed a body kick. Franca pushed him against the fence. Vick with a spin kick to the body. Viick landing all kinds of shots but Franca took him down again. Close round Franca 10-9.
Second round: Between rounds they are checking Franca’s right eye but they let him continue. It’s not bleeding but it was poked. Vick taking him apart with punches at 6-foot 2 and a lightweight. Franca tagged him back. Spinning backfist by Franca landed. Franca took him down with a hip toss. Vick back up. High kick and knee by Vick. Vick has the big edge standing with his reach and accuracy. Franca fired back with a hard right. Front kick by Vick. Spin kick to the body by Vick. Vick’s round so 19-19.
Third round: Vick landing lefts. Vick with lefts and rights. Vick continuing to land lefts. Jumping knee by Vick. Franca landed a hard right. Vick continues to jab. Low kick by Franca. Vick is dancing away a lot now which could hurt him but he’s clearly superior standing. Great front kick to the head by Vick. Good fight. Crowd liked it 29-28 Vick.
Scores: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 Vick
WOMEN'S STRAWWEIGHTS- (#2) CARLA ESPARZA (10-3, 1-1 UFC) VS. (#14) JULIANA LIMA (8-2, 2-1 UFC)
First round: Slow start as in nothing happening. Esparza with punches and Lima going for a takedown. Lima with punches and Esparza took her down. Esparza gave her a short power bomb off an armbar attempt. Lima tried for another armbar and Esparza out. Lima tried for it again and Esparza with another short power bomb. Nice up kick by Lima and another. Esparza with punches from the top but doing no damage. Lima with another up kick. Esparza cradled her and punched her a few times. Esparza 10-9.
Second round: Lima swinging wildly. Lima with a kick and Esparza slammed her down after grabbing the leg. That kick was a bad idea. Esparza with a lot of punches but again no real damaging blows. Esparza again with a short power bomb. Lima up with 30 seconds left and took Esparza down but Esparza right back up. Lima working for a takedown late but didn’t get it. Esparza 20-18.
Third round: Esparza took her down to start the third round. Another up kick by Lima. Lima back up with 3:00 left. Esparza took her down right away. Lima up. Esparza took her down again. Esparza with a few punches. Lima reversed with 1:17 left. Lima is in side control. Esparza regained guard. Boring fight. Esparza 30-27.
Scores: All three have it 30-27 for Esparza.
WELTERWEIGHTS- DANNY ROBERTS (12-1, 1-0 UFC) VS. DOMINIQUE STEELE (14-6, 1-1 UFC)
First round: Steele dropped him with a right early. Roberts worked for a triangle but didn’t get it. Roberts up with 2:50 left in the round. Body kick by Roberts. Another body kick by Roberts. Big left by Roberts. Steele went for the takedown off a missed punch but couldn’t get it. They traded knees. Steele 10-9.
Second round: Knee to the body by Roberts. Roberts with a body kick and punches. Roberts landing more punches. Steele with a knee to the body. Roberts with a knee. Roberts with an elbow. Roberts with more punches. Front kick by Roberts. Roberts landing several punches. Roberts with a head kick. Steele spun and got behind Roberts. Roberts’s round so 19-19 after two.
Third round: Steele with a high takedown. Roberts landed elbows. Steele went for a takedown but Roberts is defending well Steele now got him down. Roberts throwing elbows from the bottom. Herb Dean ordered a standup. Steele landed a knee to the head and now both are swinging wildly and Steele took him down again. Steele 29-28.
Scores: All three have it 29-28 for Roberts. The crowd is booing like crazy. Steele is in disbelief as is the crowd.
FLYWEIGHTS- (#14) SERGIO PETTIS (13-2, 4-2 UFC) VS. CHRIS KELADES (9-2, 2-1 UFC)
First round: Pettis seemed to land more and be more technical. He got a takedown with a trip late. Pettis 10-9.
Second round: Kelades put Pettis down and Pettis threatened with a triangle. Pettis reversed to the top. Both landing. Nice head kick by Pettis. Body kick by Pettis. Pettis 20-18.
Third round: Pettis with a takedown. Pettis landing punches. Kelades back with punches. Pettis went for a takedown and didn’t get it. Pettis with a front headlock. Pettis shooting for a takedown. Kelades went for a choke at the horn. Pettis 30-27.
Scores: All three scored it 30-27 for Pettis. You’ve never seen such a rushed decision announcement in your life.
MAIN CARD (PPV- 10 PM ET/7 PM PT)
FEATHERWEIGHTS- YAIR RODRIGUEZ (6-1, 3-0 UFC) VS. ANDRE FILI (15-3, 3-2 UFC)
First round: Rodriguez threw a crazy kick that missed. Takedown by Rodriguez off a kick. Rodriguez landing hard elbows. Rodriguez now holding him down. Rodriguez in side control. Fili back up with 45 seconds left. Nice sweeping low kick took Fili off his feet. Fili dropped him with a left jab. Hard low kick by Rodriguez. Body kick by Fili and a takedown by Fili. Rodriguez back up. Great round. 10-9 Rodriguez..
Second round: Fili tripped Rodriguez down on a kick but let him back up. Rodriguez with a takedown. Rodriguez knocked him cold with a knockout of the year jumping kick. This will be in the all-time highlight reel. It was a jumping left switch kick to the head. Fili is okay but he went out immediately. 2:15
MIDDLEWEIGHTS- (#7) ROBERT WHITTAKER (15-4, 6-2 UFC) VS. (#13) RAFAEL NATAL (21-6-1, 9-4-1 UFC)
First round: Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie chants for Whittaker. Body kick by Whittaker. Body kick by Natal. Low kick by Whittaker. Low kick by Natal. Both swinging hard. Left by Whitaker. Natal got behind him but Whittaker escaped. Natal with a low kick. Whittaker hurt him with punches and Natal went down. Natal got back up. Left by Whittaker. Whittaker landed another left. Whittaker 10-9.
Second round: Natal with a low kick. Both throwing punches. Whittaker’s left leg is all bruised up. Low kick by Natal. Whittaker missed on a punch. Natal landed a counter. Whittaker bleeding from the nose. Natal taking over this round. Natal knocked him off his feet, more a trip than a knockdown. Now Whittaker landing. Nice left by Whittaker. Low kick by Whittaker. Jumping kick by Whittaker. Could go either way, I’ve got it 19-19 with it going to Natal.
Third round: Whittaker threw a kick that landed low and the bout was stopped for a time out. Whittaker with a body kick. Whittaker’s left leg is so beat up. Whittaker now with low kicks. Left by Whittaker. Front kick and low kick by Whittaker and followed with a right. Hard left by Whttaker. Natal with low kicks. Left by Whittaker. High kick by Whittaker knocked him down and Natal up and both swinging wildly as the fight ended. Crowd liked the fight. 29-28 Whittaker.
Scores: 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 Whittaker
Whittaker said he injured his right hand early so was mostly throwing lefts. He said he got tired in the second round and Natal was really tough.
LIGHTWEIGHTS- (#3) ANTHONY PETTIS (18-4, 5-3 UFC) VS. (#8) EDSON BARBOZA (16-4, 10-4 UFC)
First round: Body kick by Barboza. Low kick by Barboza. Pettis with a counter off a kick by Barboza. Good left by Barboza. Low kick by Barboza. Low kick by Barboza. Big right by Barboza. Another right by Barboza. Spin kick to the body by Barboza. Pettis tried a takedown and couldn’t get it. Spin kick to the head by Barboza. Pettis tried a flying kick that missed. 10-9 Barboza. Good round.
Second round: Barboza with a body kick as Pettis tried for takedown. Pettis landed a right. Pettis in with punches. Pettis with a body kick. Big right by Barboza. Barboza with a nice combo. Pettis tried a takedown and didn’t get it. Hard body kick by Barboza. Trading punches. Pettis tried a cartwheel kick that missed. Barboza 20-18.
Third round: Pettis with a cartwheel kick that didn’t land solid. Barboza put him down with a low kick. Low kick by Barboza. Barboza kicked him in the groin. Brief time out and back in action. Big low kick and another by Barboza. The two kicks sounded like a shotgun going off. Two more low kicks by Barboza. Left by Barboza. Another low kick by Barboza. Left and low kick by Barboza. Another low kick. Barboza really taking over now. Pettis tried for a takedown and didn’t come close. Spin kick by Barboza. Pettis missed a spin kick. Barboza 30-27
Scores: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 Barboza.
UFC FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP- (C) DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON (23-2-1, 11-1-1 UFC) VS. (#2) HENRY CEJUDO (10-0, 4-0 UFC)
First round: They are shooting Joseph Benavidez at ringside. Cejudo definitely got the bigger reaction. Some boos, but not many for Johnson. Low kick by Cehjudo. They are in a clinch. Both trading knees. Johnson landed a right. High kick by Johnson blocked. Back to a clinch. Takedown by Cejudo. Place went nuts for this. This is the most intense I’ve ever seen a crowd at a Johnson fight. Johnson back up. Back to a clinch. Knee by Johnson. Johnson landing a lot of knees. An elbow and knees hurt Cejudo and and knee to the body put him down and a few punches later it was over. 2:49
UFC INTERIM LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP- (#1) JON JONES (21-1, 15-1 UFC) VS. (#6) OVINCE SAINT PREUX (19-7, 7-2 UFC)
First round: Spin kick to the body by Johes. Johes kicked the knee. Jones missed a front kick. OSP missed a punch. Another kick to the knee by Jones. Kick to the body by Jones. Jones caught a kick by OSP. Side kick by Jones. Jones throwing kicks to the knee. OSP kicked the knee. Body kick by Jones. Spin kick by Jones. Left by OSP. Jones with a knee to the body. Jones 10-9.
Second round: Jones tried for a single leg but gave it up when OSP landed punches. Body kick by Jones. Body kick by Jones. OSP chant. Left to the body by Jones. Knee by OSP. Real loud OSP chants. Jones firing elbows and knees now. Jones with elbows. OSP hurt him with a punch. He missed another one. Jones with a high kick but didn’t connect with any damage. Spin kick to the body by Jones. Big right by OSP. Left by OSP. Spin kick to the head by Jones. Crowd really buzzing because OSP did land some shots. Still Jones 20-18.
Third round: Jones with all kinds of kicks to the knee. Jones with a left. OSP landed some punches. Jones with another kick to the knee. Spinning punch by Jones. Left by Jones. Left to the body by Jones. Body kick by OSP. Left by Jones. Left by OSP. Fans booing because it’s not that great of a fight. Jones with a high kick. Left and right by OSP. Body kick by Jones. Another body kick by Jones. Left and right by OSP. Jones back to attacking the knee. OSP missed big punches. He’s too slow and telegraphing them. Jones 30-27.
Fourth round: Crowd booing a lot. Body kick by OSP. Body kick by Jones. Jones working for a takedown. He picked him up and slammed him and OSP back up. Jones landed a knee. Crowd booing again. Elbows by Jones. Left to the body by Jones. Jones took him down again. He’s in side control. Elbow by Jones. OSP nearly escaped. Jones has his back with 33 seconds left. Jones with punches, a kick to the body and an elbow and a stomp. Jones had him nearly beat at the end of the round. 10-8 round Jones 40-35.
Fifth round: Jones with a body kick. Jones with a left. Spin kick to the body by Jones. Uppercut by Jones. Another uppercut by Jones. Jones with a high sidewalk slam into side control. Kick to the body by Jones and OSP back up. Jones missed a high kick. Trading punches as Jones had OSP backed into the fence. OSP just too tired to do anything as time ran out. Jones 50-44.
Scores: 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45 for Jones
Jones said this isn't the real belt. Said it took him a while to pull the trigger. Fans booed him when it was over. I was watching and anticipating and imagining but I wasn't going for it, watching instead of reacting. Said he physically felt amazing, mentally said he felt he was sucking. Said his problems didn't play into the fight. Said he really needed that fight. Said he needed a fight like that before the title match. Really excited to fight Daniel Cormier. I'll be back in practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Then said he loved the fans. Lukewarm at best reaction.
OSP interivew. Said Jon was the best pound for pound and said he only had three weeks to get ready so he thought he did a good job. Said his arm his killing him from blocking a high kick. Said he's consistent and tactical.